51: Food innovation at the heart of future health concerns

The Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing Lab­o­ra­to­ry (GEC), a CNRS-UTC joint unit, com­bines fun­da­men­tal and applied research around two main themes. The first, called the “green” theme, con­cerns every­thing relat­ed to plant metab­o­lism and biore­sources with con­crete appli­ca­tions, such as the replace­ment of min­er­al oils by lipids pro­duced by plants, or the use in nutri­tion and health of phy­tosan­i­tary-com­pounds known for their antiox­i­dant and anti-tumoral prop­er­ties, such as beta­nine. The sec­ond, the “red” theme, aims to explore the issues of bio-mimetism and bio­mol­e­c­u­lar diver­si­ty, in par­tic­u­lar by design­ing bio­mol­e­cule banks or cre­at­ing poly­mers with mol­e­c­u­lar fin­ger­prints whose recog­ni­tion per­for­mance is com­pa­ra­ble to that of anti­bod­ies. Inno­v­a­tive research with fields of appli­ca­tion rang­ing from health, to cos­met­ics and agro-food. 

Claire Rossi, UTC pro­fes­sor of bio­log­i­cal engi­neer­ing, is also respon­si­ble for the Inno­va­tion, Food and Agrore­sources elec­tive spe­cial­ty and the Food Sci­ence Plat­form at UTC’s Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Centre. 

She pur­sues research activ­i­ties at the Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing (GEC) Lab­o­ra­to­ry, a joint CNRS-UTC unit. “My research focus­es on the food sci­ences and the impact of nutri­tion on health, or how to improve well-being through diet,” she explains.

Appoint­ed lec­tur­er at UTC in 2007, Claire Rossi began in fun­da­men­tal research. “The objec­tive was to study how com­pounds of inter­est inter­act with cells at the mol­e­c­u­lar lev­el, such as active mol­e­cules from plants or pathogens, such as tox­ins… In a word: study­ing pre­cise­ly the moment when mol­e­cules inter­act with the cell mem­brane bar­ri­er,” she explains.

How­ev­er, she had oth­er skills — “anoth­er hat,” she says — espe­cial­ly in food and agro-resources, which are quite far from her fun­da­men­tal research, which is main­ly biological. 

So, how can these two themes be rec­on­ciled, val­orised and enhanced? “This is how the themes of the Food Sci­ence Plat­form emerged. The key idea? It was to use the con­cepts pro­vid­ed by the fun­da­men­tal research car­ried out with­in UTCGEC for con­crete appli­ca­tions devel­oped on the plat­form, direct­ly aimed at the con­sumer, and there­fore at indus­try, while plac­ing train­ing at the cen­tre of these activ­i­ties through stu­dent projects,” she emphasizes. 

This has led her to her cur­rent research, which focus­es on pre­ven­tive health care on the one hand and inno­v­a­tive foods on the oth­er. “In the first case, the aim is to under­stand the activ­i­ty of plant-derived mol­e­cules and their impact on human health, for exam­ple: the action of flax pectin in pre­vent­ing vas­cu­lar cal­ci­fi­ca­tion or that of beet pig­ments for their antiox­i­dant or anti­tu­moral pre­ven­tive prop­er­ties. But the inter­est lies in work­ing not only on iso­lat­ed nat­ur­al mol­e­cules, but to focus on their effects and their inter­ac­tions with­in food matri­ces. Hence the idea of study­ing nutri­tion­al opti­miza­tion of food. In oth­er words, to work on very clas­sic foods such as sauces or even sand­wich bread, for exam­ple, and to rework the bal­ance of nutri­ents in the food, with­out alter­ing its appear­ance or taste, an essen­tial point in the plea­sure of eat­ing. It is also pos­si­ble to incor­po­rate nat­ur­al ori­gin active mol­e­cules, accord­ing to the prop­er­ties desired “, explains Claire Rossi. 

And with what con­crete appli­ca­tions? “Take tapi­o­ca flour pro­duced by our part­ner, the Cas­sa­va Starch Cor­po­ra­tion in Tan­za­nia. It is a nat­ur­al food that makes it pos­si­ble to pre­pare a ‘Dutch’ sauce that is as creamy and tasty as a clas­sic sauce, but with a fat con­tent that is halved. In a nut­shell: work­ing on the bio­chem­i­cal struc­ture of the food with­out dena­tur­ing it,” she says. 

Involve­ment of stu­dents in very con­crete projects? “This gives them unde­ni­able project skills. They can then take part in com­pe­ti­tions such as Ecotro­phe­lia, where the var­i­ous agro-food schools com­pete against each oth­er, or then cre­ate star­tups,” insists Claire Rossi. With the Hush project for exam­ple, they won the Gold Tro­phy for their first par­tic­i­pa­tion in Ecotro­phe­lia France in 2018 and the prize for the best inno­va­tion the same year at the Euro­pean edi­tion of this com­pe­ti­tion, where the win­ners from each coun­try com­pete against each oth­er? “Hush is a fruit-based drink with a cap­puc­ci­no tex­ture and a nutriscore A, the best score on a nutri­tion­al scale from A to E,” she describes. A suc­cess that delights her. “First of all, it under­scores the qual­i­ty of our train­ing. It has also rein­forced my approach that inno­v­a­tive foods must remain — this is my trade­mark — very tasty and give plea­sure while being bet­ter for the health of the con­sumer. In short, to com­bine con­vivi­al­i­ty, plea­sure and well-being,” she says. 

And in terms of start-ups? “One exam­ple is Smeal, which was found­ed by for­mer stu­dents, whom we sup­port­ed. For sev­er­al years now, it has been mar­ket­ing a prac­ti­cal, nutri­tion­al­ly per­fect meal, designed in par­tic­u­lar for sports­men and women, in the form of a rehy­dra­tion pow­der. Hence the name ‘nomadic meal’. Or its trade-name Hush, which will be cre­at­ed and launched next Decem­ber,” she concludes. 


It is a small spe­cial­ist sec­tion (between 20 and 25 grad­u­ates per year), but rec­og­nized in the world of agro-food innovation. 

By win­ning the Gold Tro­phy at the Ecotro­phe­lia France com­pe­ti­tion in 2018, then the Coup de Coeur prize at the Ecotro­phe­lia Europe com­pe­ti­tion with their “Hush”, fruit-based hot drink, the IAA stu­dents have demon­strat­ed their skills. And com­pa­nies are not mis­tak­en. Indeed, between 2014 and 2017, the time it took to secure a first job was less than three months and 54% of the stu­dents were hired even before their final intern­ship. The pro­gramme includes cours­es in the fields of food for­mu­la­tion, inno­va­tion, nutri­tion, analy­sis of organ­ic and food prod­ucts, agro-indus­tri­al oper­a­tions, mar­ket­ing of inno­va­tion, etc. Dur­ing train­ing, stu­dents also have access to a sen­so­ry analy­sis room, a food for­mu­la­tion lab­o­ra­to­ry and equip­ment for mea­sur­ing the physi­co-chem­i­cal and rhe­o­log­i­cal prop­er­ties of food. 

Emma Ruby, who graduated in 2017

Why did you choose this line of work?

I was attract­ed by the sci­ence that under­scores food, it’s an area that rais­es ques­tions of pub­lic inter­est, ethics and is at the heart of cur­rent and future issues. 

And what now?

After 2 years of VIE in a bakery/pastry/ choco­late ingre­di­ents com­pa­ny (Puratos), I was hired as Junior R&D man­ag­er in the field of bread ‘improvers’.

Yan­nick Rossez is a CNRS research fel­low in the UTC-GEC (Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing) Lab­o­ra­to­ry. His work focus­es par­tic­u­lar­ly on the bac­te­r­i­al fla­gel­lum, respon­si­ble for bac­te­r­i­al motility.

His inter­est in this field? “It was dur­ing my post-doc in Scot­land and fol­low­ing an epi­dem­ic in 2010/2011 that killed more than 50 peo­ple that I became inter­est­ed  in path­o­gen­ic host bac­te­ria, which are main­ly asso­ci­at­ed with food poi­son­ing,” he says. From then on, Yan­nick Rossez’s objec­tive was “to under­stand whether pathogens, known in the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty to specif­i­cal­ly rec­og­nize human tis­sues, had devel­oped strate­gies to resist in an inter­me­di­ate host. Name­ly fruits and veg­eta­bles eat­en raw”. He is inter­est­ed, in par­tic­u­lar, in ‘adhesins’ – the mol­e­cules respon­si­ble for adhe­sion — car­ried by bac­te­ria and the strat­e­gy they devel­op to rec­og­nize struc­tures car­ried only by plants. But one par­tic­u­lar adhesin, the bac­te­r­i­al fla­gel­lum, is of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to him.

“Known until now as respon­si­ble for bac­te­r­i­al motil­i­ty — dis­place­ment of the bac­teri­um — I dis­cov­ered that it was able to adhere to human tis­sues via lipids on the cell sur­face. With­out adhe­sion there is no bac­te­r­i­al pathol­o­gy,” he says. Admit­ted to UTC in 2016, he con­tin­ued his work nat­u­ral­ly on the fla­gel­lum — “a major project”, he says — a sub­ject that has a strong impact on the food indus­try by study­ing the inter­ac­tion between lipids and bac­te­r­i­al fla­gel­lum in adhe­sion. He is devel­op­ing bio­mimet­ic mem­branes, prof. Claire Rossi, in order to under­stand the mech­a­nisms that make one lipid more favourable to adhe­sion than anoth­er. The result is a dis­cov­ery that will be pub­lished soon: “The more we eat a diet that is rich in polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat­ty acids, bet­ter known as Omega 3s, the less risk we run of being col­o­nized by bac­te­ria”, announces Yan­nick Rossez.

So, what is our cur­rent strat­e­gy? “It’s a ques­tion of inhibit­ing the adhe­sion process as ear­ly as pos­si­ble, pre­vent­ing coloni­sa­tion and there­fore the appear­ance of bac­te­r­i­al pathol­o­gy and, ulti­mate­ly, not only reduc­ing the use of antibi­otics, but also antibi­ot­ic resis­tance,” he explains. Anoth­er field of research? “I’m inter­est­ed in ‘mechanosens­ing’, a very recent and expand­ing dis­ci­pline. Here again, the aim is to inhib­it the abil­i­ty of bac­te­ria to detect sur­faces and there­by pre­vent bac­te­r­i­al adhe­sion,” he concludes.


Por­trait As a PhD stu­dent at the UTC-GEC lab­o­ra­to­ry, Hélène Caz­zo­la is prepar­ing a the­sis enti­tled “Impact of cell mem­brane lipid com­po­si­tion on bac­te­r­i­al adhe­sion via the fla­gel­lum”, direct­ed by Claire Rossi and Yan­nick Rossez, which she defend­ed in Octo­ber 2019.

Dur­ing her last year as a chem­i­cal engi­neer at ESCOM, Hélène Caz­zo­la also began a Mas­ter’s degree in biotech­nol­o­gy at UTC. The rea­son for this choice? “I like sci­en­tif­ic mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty, espe­cial­ly the inter­face between chem­istry and biol­o­gy,” she explains. And it was dur­ing her end-of-year intern­ship at the UTC-GEC that she dis­cov­ered the world of research.

“With Claire Rossi, my intern super­vi­sor, I dis­cov­ered the world of research and appre­ci­at­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work on fun­da­men­tal sub­jects that could be use­ful for future appli­ca­tions,” she empha­sizes. It was with this in mind that she chose her the­sis top­ic on “the adhe­sion of path­o­gen­ic bac­te­ria”, she says. “Adhe­sion is a strate­gic step in the fight against the per­sis­tence of pathogens, the first step before col­o­niza­tion and infec­tion of the host,” says Hélène Cazzola.

Aude Cordin, lec­tur­er at the UTC since 2006, is also a research sci­en­tist at the UTC GEC (Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing) Lab­o­ra­to­ry. She works in par­tic­u­lar on the encap­su­la­tion of pig­ments extract­ed from beet­root, a project financed in par­tic­u­lar by the French Hauts-de-France Region. 

What’s your area of research? “In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Claire Rossi, I am work­ing on the encap­su­la­tion of nat­ur­al prod­ucts that may be of inter­est to the agro-food indus­try. We are inter­est­ed in pig­ments extract­ed from beet­root, or beta­nine, with promis­ing antiox­i­dant and anti-tumoral prop­er­ties. How­ev­er, these com­pounds are very sen­si­tive to their envi­ron­ment — light, tem­per­a­ture, pH, etc. — and are there­fore very sen­si­tive to their envi­ron­ment. So they can be bro­ken down even before they are assim­i­lat­ed by the body,” she explains.

A field that is nur­tured by her inter­dis­ci­pli­nary back­ground. With a degree in chem­istry, she decid­ed to present and defend a the­sis on “the val­ori­sa­tion of nat­ur­al sub­stances. It was about mod­i­fy­ing them by bio­catal­y­sis in order to intro­duce new inter­est­ing prop­er­ties for cos­met­ic appli­ca­tions”, then a post-doc “more focused on mate­ri­als”, she adds. This led her, as soon as she arrived at the UTC, to work “on poly­mers with mol­e­c­u­lar imprints. In oth­er words, poly­mers capa­ble of rec­og­niz­ing a tar­get mol­e­cule, and then on the design of degrad­able mate­ri­als allow­ing the con­trolled release of active prin­ci­ple”. Hence the project to encap­su­late beta­nine mol­e­cules. “The idea is to encap­su­late them with a pro­tec­tive mem­brane to pre­vent degra­da­tion and thus improve their shelf life,” she adds. 

The chal­lenges ahead? “The first is to be able to man­u­fac­ture cap­sules — from 5 to 10 μm — that are com­pat­i­ble with food appli­ca­tions. This lim­its us both in the type of mate­ri­als that could be used and in the choice of man­u­fac­tur­ing process. The sec­ond is to have a cap­sule that will be able to pro­tect mol­e­cules through­out the diges­tive tract and release them into the intes­tine. Where it will be assim­i­lat­ed by the body,” she says. “The cap­sule must not open in the stom­ach, but only once it has reached the intes­tine,” insists Aude Cordin. 

The aim of this project? “The aim of this project is to enrich a food prod­uct with antiox­i­dants. A prod­uct which would thus have a pre­ven­tive role for health. In this case, we are talk­ing about health foods”, she explains. A project that is in an exper­i­men­tal phase with, already, tests on a first encap­su­la­tion method. “We were able to show that it is pos­si­ble to encap­su­late beta­nine and that this encap­su­la­tion improves the con­ser­va­tion of the sub­stance over time. Oth­er encap­su­la­tion sys­tems are being stud­ied for the con­trolled release of pig­ments in the intes­tine”, con­cludes Aude Cordin. This beta­nine encap­su­la­tion project, financed in par­tic­u­lar by the Hauts de France Region and the Euro­pean Region­al Devel­op­ment Fund (ERDF), involves sev­er­al lab­o­ra­to­ries: on the one hand, the UTC-BMBI and the UTC-TIMR, and on the oth­er hand the Uni­LaSalle insti­tute in Beauvais.



Nes­rine Ben Hadi Youssef is a PhD stu­dent at the UTCGEC (Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing) Lab­o­ra­to­ry. She is expect­ed to defend her the­sis, super­vised by Claire Rossi, Anne-Vir­ginie Sal­sac and Aude Cordin, in Jan­u­ary 2020.

Dur­ing her stud­ies as an agro-food engi­neer at Agro-Sup Dijon, she did a research intern­ship at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta (USA) on flavour encapsulation. 

“I dis­cov­ered and appre­ci­at­ed the world of research there,” she says. This taste for research led her to do her final year intern­ship at Adri­anor (Arras), a tech­no­log­i­cal resource cen­tre at the inter­face between research and the food indus­try. “I car­ried out research there on the for­mu­la­tion of gluten-free bread,” she explains. It is there­fore with­out hes­i­ta­tion that she is pre­sent­ing her the­sis on the “Microen­cap­su­la­tion of antiox­i­dant mol­e­cules for the enrich­ment of food prod­ucts” a sub­ject pro­posed by the GEC Lab. In this con­text, Nes­rine Ben Hadi Youssef is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in beta­nines, a class of antiox­i­dants found in beet. 

Pro­fes­sor at Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty (Great Britain), Fady Mohareb is in charge of the bioin­for­mat­ics team in the lab­o­ra­to­ry ded­i­cat­ed to the food indus­try. Between 2010 and 2018, he was also Man­ag­er of the Euro­pean Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme, a dou­ble degree cur­ricu­lum set up by Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty. He details the nature of the rela­tion­ship between the two institutions. 

When did the aca­d­e­m­ic and/or research rela­tion­ship between Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty and UTC begin?

The rela­tion­ship between our two insti­tu­tions goes back more than a decade, when the two uni­ver­si­ties signed a pro­to­col for the exchange of stu­dents fol­low­ing a dual cur­ricu­lum with­in the frame­work of the “Euro­pean Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme” (EPP) set up by Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty. Since then, UTC has been con­sid­ered a major and strate­gic part­ner for Cran­field University. 

In what areas have they developed?

They con­cern the food indus­try, biotech­nol­o­gy and bio-com­put­ing, auto­mo­tive, aero­space and indus­tri­al production. 

With regard to your own areas of exper­tise, what research is being or has been car­ried out in coop­er­a­tion with UTC? With which laboratories?

As a spe­cial­ist in applied bioin­for­mat­ics, more par­tic­u­lar­ly in machine learn­ing, I have col­lab­o­rat­ed main­ly with Pro­fes­sor Claire Rossi from UTC-GEC (Enzyme and Cel­lu­lar Engi­neer­ing) Lab­o­ra­to­ry (a UTC/CNRS mixed unit), with Ben­jamin Quost from UTC-Heudi­asyc (Heuris­tics and Diag­nos­tics of Com­plex Sys­tems) Lab­o­ra­to­ry and with Claude-Olivi­er Sarde from UTC-TIMR (Inte­grat­ed Trans­for­ma­tions of Renew­able Mat­ter) Lab­o­ra­to­ry of the UTC in the fields of agro-food and bio-computing. 

Can you spec­i­fy and give con­crete exam­ples of collaboration?

It all start­ed with the “Euro­pean Part­ner­ship Agree­ment (EPP)” estab­lished by Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty. A dou­ble degree cur­ricu­lum that allowed high-poten­tial stu­dents from UTC to join a MSc pro­gramme at our uni­ver­si­ty after their third year. With one advan­tage: exemp­tion from reg­is­tra­tion fees. Today, we have decid­ed to go one step fur­ther with the EPP. This sec­ond phase con­cerns PhD stu­dents from both insti­tu­tions who could, for their research, work either at Cran­field Uni­ver­si­ty or at UTC. 

Anoth­er, more recent exam­ple of this collaboration?

A sem­i­nar enti­tled “Seed Meet­ing” held at the French Embassy in Lon­don in Octo­ber 2018. Fund­ed by the Depart­ment of High­er Edu­ca­tion, Research and Inno­va­tion of the French Embassy in Lon­don, it was co-host­ed by Claire Rossi and myself. The aim of this sem­i­nar? It notably served to iden­ti­fy poten­tial syn­er­gies between our two teams in terms of research and inno­va­tion and to enhance research col­lab­o­ra­tion between our two uni­ver­si­ties. This meet­ing was  very fruit­ful since we have already iden­ti­fied a pos­si­ble research part­ner­ship in the field of bioac­tive mol­e­cules from plants. Our twoteams are cur­rent­ly try­ing to iden­ti­fy the most suit­able calls for projects, both on a bilat­er­al and inter­na­tion­al lev­el, in order to offi­cial­ly con­clude an agree­ment in the field of research between our two institutions.

Will there be clos­er links between researchers in the future? Absolute­ly, since over the years to come, researchers will be invit­ed to spend half their time in Com­piègne and the oth­er half in Cranfield.



Megan Eoche-Duval grad­u­at­ed from UTC in 2017, major­ing in Bio-Engi­neer­ing, and spe­cial­iz­ing in Inno­va­tion, Food and Agrore­sources (IAA). She also holds a Mas­ter’s degree in Nutri­tion, from Uni­ver­si­ty Paris 6 (Pierre and Marie Curie). She has worked with the Danone Group since 2018. What moti­vat­ed the choice of UTC? “Dur­ing my MPC (math, physics & chem­istry) prepa­ra­tion, I real­ized that I missed biol­o­gy a lot. But at UTC, not hav­ing done biol­o­gy before did­n’t seem to be a prob­lem, even though I had to work hard to catch up in the sub­ject,” she explains. Anoth­er, old­er moti­va­tion? “When my broth­er was in his final high school class, we went to the UTC Open Day”. What did he like? “The fact that you can choose a per­son­alised à la carte train­ing course, have teach­ers who lis­ten, work on projects — a good prepa­ra­tion for inte­gra­tion into a com­pa­ny — and final­ly that it offers activ­i­ties such as dra­ma or music class­es, and is on a human scale,” she empha­sizes. Megan Eoche-Duval was recruit­ed by Danone at the end of her mas­ter’s intern­ship as a mem­ber of the “Inno­va­tion Aquadrinks” team.

Pro­fes­sor of Bio­chem­istry at UTC, Karsten Haupt has been Direc­tor of the Enzyme and Cell Engi­neer­ing (GEC) lab­o­ra­to­ry since 2012, report­ing to the CNRS Insti­tutes of Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ences and Chem­istry, plus the UTC and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Picardie Jules Verne (UPJV), Amiens. 

A word about the GEC team?

GEC is a small­ish UTC research unit, com­pris­ing about thir­ty tenured staff — 20 lec­tur­er-cum-research sci­en­tists and tech­ni­cal staff, engi­neers and lab tech­ni­cians. How­ev­er, depend­ing on a giv­en year and on the projects and fund­ing avail­able, there are between 60–70 per­son­nel, includ­ing PhD and post-doc students. 

What are the GEC’s major research areas?

The unit has recent­ly been restruc­tured around two main themes. All of the unit’s projects fit into one of the two themes, with a con­stant con­cern to pro­vide answers to tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenges, soci­etal issues and sci­en­tif­ic ques­tions. The first, called the “green” theme, con­cerns every­thing relat­ed to plant metab­o­lism and biore­sources. Among the objec­tives is to have plants pro­duce unusu­al mol­e­cules or pro­duce them in small quan­ti­ties. One of our goals is to avail of plants pro­duc­ing lipids that would even­tu­al­ly replace min­er­al oils. Hence our involve­ment in PIVERT, an Insti­tute for Ener­gy Tran­si­tion (ITE) includ­ing indus­tri­al­ists, select­ed to ben­e­fit, as of 2011, under the Gov­ern­ment incen­tive pro­gramme “Invest­ments for the Future. We are also inter­est­ed in polyphe­nols, which have prop­er­ties that could be of inter­est for the agro-food indus­try, and we are car­ry­ing out more cross-dis­ci­pli­nary projects such as study­ing the inter­ac­tion of plants with their envi­ron­ment — how to pro­tect them from stress, from the action of micro-organ­isms or, for exam­ple, how to opti­mise the use of lig­no-cel­lu­losic residues once the oils have been extracted. 

The sec­ond, the “red” theme, focussing on the issues of bio-mimet­ics and bio­mol­e­c­u­lar diver­si­ty, with two com­ple­men­tary approach­es. In the first case, our objec­tive is to design bio­mol­e­cule libraries con­tain­ing anti­body frag­ments, pep­tides or nucle­ic acids. Cur­rent­ly, we have libraries con­tain­ing more than one bil­lion mol­e­cules from which we are able to select bio-com­pounds of inter­est, capa­ble of inter­act­ing with an iden­ti­fied tar­get to neu­tral­ize or detect it. In the sec­ond case, we are inter­est­ed in the devel­op­ment of mate­ri­als ded­i­cat­ed to mol­e­c­u­lar recog­ni­tion using a “tai­lor-made” approach. In oth­er words, to cre­ate poly­mers with mol­e­c­u­lar prints with recog­ni­tion per­for­mance lev­els on a par with that of anti­bod­ies. Here again, the fields of appli­ca­tion range from health to agro-food, but can also be inte­grat­ed into more fun­da­men­tal stud­ies. We have more and more cross-dis­ci­pli­nary projects, which is an indi­ca­tor of the coher­ence of our themes. We are also rely­ing increas­ing­ly on ratio­nal­ly designed tools. 

Can you cite some prac­ti­cal applications?

We have many appli­ca­tions, so let me just men­tion a few. In the food sec­tor, for exam­ple, we will use sen­sor-equipped poly­mers to detect prob­lem­at­ic mol­e­cules in real time, such as the pres­ence of ana­bol­ic agents, antibi­otics and endocrine dis­turbers, pes­ti­cides in excess of thresh­olds or even dis­eases such as cys­ti­tis in cows. In the health field, the aim is to pro­duce anti­bod­ies that can be used in immunother­a­py. This field seems to be of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Sanofi, with whom we have already worked as part of a Euro­pean project.

In your opin­ion, what are the strong points of GEC? In terms of inter­na­tion­al vis­i­bil­i­ty and recog­ni­tion, I would cite, among oth­er things, meta­bol­ic engi­neer­ing of oilseed plants, our exper­tise in mol­e­c­u­lar­ly imprint­ed poly­mers and our knowhow in bank­ing and breeding.


Le magazine

Juin 2023 - N°60

Une recherche tournée vers un avenir soutenable

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